This post, Seven Ways to Beat the Holiday Blues, is a sequel to my recent post, entitled, Seven Reasons Seniors Might Feel the Holiday Blues.
Many people are tempted to skip Christmas as they get older. We don’t feel like putting up the lights. It is a hassle to go gift shopping. Besides that, who can afford lights and gifts on a fixed income? How about a tree? What one puts up, one has to take down, so forget it! It’s the season for the Holiday Blues!
Wait! Don’t “bah humbug” so quickly. Here are ways to bring some holiday spirit back into your December.
Don’t Skip Christmas!
Simplify Your Expectations
Throw out the old myth that more décor and lights on every window makes for a meaningful holiday. There’s the old idea that everything needs to be perfect like in a “traditional household.” This negatively impacts relationships, stress levels, sobriety, anxiety, etc. Certainly not a way to beat the holiday blues! Do what you enjoy and can do, but free yourself (and your loved ones) from overdone holiday expectations. Keep things simple and calm. By the way, those “traditional households” in our country are not in the majority.
Pick up the phone. Call different friends and ask to be included in something they are doing this month. Most people love to open their home to include another person. Contribute by offering to bring a dish to share at dinner. Others may also need help to beat the holiday blues.
Did you used to belong to a church? Get involved again. A church can give you much food for spiritual thought. Also, churches have a variety of Christmas activities or programs to attend. Consider adding church to your life year-round. Many churches have specific senior groups to participate in. Consider checking out the local Senior Center. Ask for a schedule, as Senior Centers often have holiday events happening throughout December. Also, many Senior Centers have several weekly events and monthly outings throughout the year. Some local events are listed in our Social and Care Calendar.
No Longer Driving?
Bring a Christmas Party into your home! Get the grandkids together for a movie. Ask a friend or a family member to pick up this movie at the library, or you can stream a movie online. Play some favorite games together.
Need to get to an event? To get to church, ask a church secretary if there might be someone available to bring you to the December programs and even the weekly services throughout the year. Also inquire at the Senior Center about bus service or if there is anyone who lives near you who can bring you to weekly events. Keep your social circles broad so you can ask a variety of people to help with transportation. Don’t be shy about asking for rides to events, once you have gotten to know and trust those around you. Most people love to help in this way!
Remember the Life You are Blessed With
Review memories through old photos of loved ones of all ages. Get on the phone and talk with loved ones still living. Keep building bridges with friends and family. This is done with visits, letters, and small deeds or words of kindness sprinkled throughout the year. Also have a few token reminders of certain family stories, and share them with the next generation over some hot cocoa.
Reduce Money and Shopping Stress
If you live on a reduced or fixed income, you might not be able to give the way you used to. The best way to celebrate any holiday is to reach out to others with your presence more than your presents. Rather than a lot of hustle and bustle, plan or organize a simple potluck or dessert at your house or a family member’s house. Be sure to ask first! The goal here is to just spend time together.
Turn the lights up! Have someone help you park your favorite chair in front of a window that gets sunshine during the winter day. Be sure to use that chair for a nap or for reading a book when the sun is shining. It can be amazing to see what this will do for your mood! While it is the month of December, have a teenage grandchild help you to put up Christmas lights in your favorite rooms, just to perk up the atmosphere.
The holiday season can especially feel like a lonely time, but you don’t have to feel alone. Reject the myth that this is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year.” For those alone days, be content with a good book or an old favorite movie. Make the most of the season while you keep your expectations reasonable. So make sincere efforts to beat the holiday blues, and have a Merry Christmas!
Christine Blankenship, Vibrant Senior Options